One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in ancient Greece) a young man of 18–20 years undergoing military training.
- ‘By the 330s, ephebes received a full year of training in hoplite fighting, archery, javelin-throwing, and catapult-firing, followed by a year of patrol duty.’
- ‘Finally, a Cretan youth was allowed only one garment, the Attic ephebe wore a black garment, and in certain mystery cults initiates were required to wear white clothing.’
- ‘An ephebe describes a teenage boy in ancient Greece (but could also describe most of the male characters in the musical Grease).’
- ‘A sleek statuette of a naked ephebe, with narrow limbs and a small convex belly, curiously anticipates, except in one small detail, Degas's nude study for an adolescent ballerina, six rooms and 4,000 years away.’
- ‘It is a gorgeously effete, nearly 3-foot bronze sculpture of a supplicant ephebe wearing a laurel crown, his thin arms upraised.’
Late 19th century ː via Latin from Greek ephēbos ‘adolescent boy’, from epi ‘near to’ + hēbē ‘youth, early manhood’.
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